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Cheap gym memberships are absolutely a thing — even after the pandemic happened and gyms saw a huge dip in membership. Some things have changed. Gym hours might be more restricted, or you might have to have a temperature screening. A gym’s COVID-19 protocols will depend on your state’s requirements.
One thing that hasn’t changed is this: Gyms still want you, and cheap gym memberships are out there when you know how to find them.
Here at KCL, all we do is find deals to help you shop smarter. Check out these other articles if you’re aiming to get healthy:
1. Take advantage of cheap gym memberships in the form of free trials.
Sample before you buy! Always check with local gyms to see if they offer a cheap gym membership free trial and take advantage of it — or check Groupon for deals on classes and memberships.
These gyms offer free trials and are nationwide — some even international:
- 24 Hour Fitness – 3-day free trial
- Gold’s Gym – Between a 7- and 30-day free trial, depending on your gym
- Crunch Fitness – 3-day free trial
- Life Time Fitness – 1-day free trial
- Equinox Fitness (includes PURE Yoga, Blink Fitness and SoulCycle) – 1-day free trial
- LA Fitness – 3-day free trial
- Anytime Fitness – 7-day free trial
2. Use subscription services to take classes at tons of different studios or gyms.
Classpass, FitReserve, and XPass are three different services that charge you a monthly rate to take several classes at different studios and gyms. You can choose a membership that fits with how often you want to take classes. Both Classpass and XPass offer a free-month trial to see if it’s something you’ll love!
3. Check with your employer for cheap gym memberships.
Many employers have “package deals” with fitness chains where employees get gym discount rates as part of their employee health benefits package.
I used to work out at 24 Hour Fitness for $21.00 a month (regularly $29.99) and no contract, thanks to a former employer!
4. If your employer doesn’t offer a gym membership discount, your insurer may.
My insurer is Blue Cross, and they offer local cheap gym memberships to their members. I’m able to pay just $25 per month with no contract at a participating gym of my choice — a pretty good deal!
5. Tell them you’re on a budget.
Tell them the price they offered is more than you budgeted for or that the price of a different gym offered a lower price.
If they really want your business, they’ll need to work for it.
6. Look carefully at the “extras.”
Often cheap gym memberships are sold as “packages” even if this isn’t spelled out. If the gym you want to join offers “free this and that,” ask what the price would be without those freebies.
Tell them what you want, and ask what the price would be for just that, and see what they say.
Often, gyms may charge you extra for towel service when you can easily save by bringing your own.
7. Sign up for a new membership at the end of the month.
If you can time your gym “shopping trip” right at month’s end, and also during the hottest parts of the year in your area, you may land better gym membership deals. This is when membership sales slow down…but sales quotas don’t.
If you have the time, plan your first visit for the beginning of the month, but don’t buy until month-end (by this point, the associate will be eager to “close the sale” and may offer you an extra gym membership discount just to sign up).
8. Create your own gym membership deal — don’t pay initiation fees.
Contracts and initiation fees are largely on their way out nationwide. Initiation fees, in particular, are often the first to go on the chopping block if an associate is eager to sign you up, so don’t cave.
Remember it can be a huge pain to try and get out of a contract, and a month-to-month structure is much better if you find you’re not going to the gym as often as you thought you would.
9. Ask about gym membership discounts for paying in one lump sum.
Some gyms are known not to budge on membership dues but may give a gym membership discount on the total price for those who pay in full for their year up front.
10. Let the associate do the talking.
Your sales associate will try to get you to talk about your career, your living situation, your income — all this to try to decipher how much you can afford. Don’t tell them anything, and you retain full bargaining power.
If the deal he or she offers doesn’t feel right, walk away. Just because you walk away doesn’t mean the associate will give up. Give them a week or two — they may call back and offer you a much better gym membership deal!
11. Join a gym with a friend.
Sometimes gyms offer a referral bonus when you get someone else to sign up for a membership. Usually, this will get you a gym discount as well as your friend!
12. Ask about student, military, and senior gym discounts.
Always make sure to ask someone at the gym about any extra discounts they might have. Student, military, and senior discounts are the most popular.
Or check out these Lululemon sale hacks!
13. Skip the gym membership and get live instruction at home instead.
Maybe you’re just not ready to get back into the gym for whatever reason. Good news is you really don’t have to, even during months when you’re surrounded by snow. One warning: Where you can get a Planet Fitness membership for $10 per month, these options will run you much higher.
Here are a few great options for workouts at home:
With Peloton, you pay for the bike and access to live, interactive workouts. You’ll need to sign an agreement to pay $39 per month over the course of about 38 months (that’s three years). You’ll also need to pay $39 for a monthly membership, bringing your Peloton total to $78 per month. Peloton offers a 30-day free trial.
BODi is Beachbody on Demand, but live and interactive. It costs $19.95 per month, plus an extra $26 per month for the BODi bike, running you $45.95 per month, but still cheaper than Peloton. BODi offers a free 30-day trial, but if you don’t cancel before that, you’ll automatically pay for a continued membership. (Cancel anytime.)
Tonal is a digital weight set-up (up to 200 pounds), so you’ll need to buy and install the equipment, but good news, it comes with a free 90-day trial. You can try it all out for 90 days and send it back if you change your mind for any reason. Tonal also comes with thousands of live or on-demand classes. It’s $63 per month over the course of 48 months (that’s four years).
14. Try Beachbody on Demand for less than cheap gym memberships.
Beachbody on Demand is a monthly membership with access to over a thousand workout videos ranging from P90X to Insanity to yoga to nutrition. None of it is live and you don’t need expensive equipment. It’s $8.95 per month, less than you’d pay monthly for a cheap gym membership.
15. Or set up your own home gym using Amazon equipment deals.
Don’t want to go to a gym and don’t want to buy a Peloton? Go slightly cheaper with fitness equipment deals on Amazon.
Plan to save up to 66% on items like yoga mats, yoga balls, resistance bands, kettlebells, wheel rollers, and more. Amazon even offers deals on stationary bikes.
See current Amazon deals.